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Siemens has already lined up a Nascar driver to plug its new-and-improved cordless phones; now the communications company is looking for an agency.

The Siemens Communication Devices division plans to spend about $1 million through the end of the year to introduce new high-tech cordless phones that begin shipping in late September. The 2410, 2415, 240 and 242 models operate at 2.4 gigahertz, a higher frequency that helps block out interference from appliances such as baby monitors and neighbors' phones.

Spending is expected to climb to about $5 million annually; Siemens also has co-op ad dollars that the winning agency may handle. The company has already signed a deal to co-sponsor Nascar driver Ward Burton.

Requests for proposals were due back at the Dallas company by the end of last week. A Siemens spokeswoman confirmed the review and said the company hopes to have an agency at work on a campaign by Oct. 1. The RFP states that Siemens would like to begin work in time to capitalize on the 1999 holiday season.

It specifically asks for a specialized partner to build the brand and move product.

Siemens is looking for an agency where it will rank in the top half of the account roster.


Siemens' challenge to the eventual winner is to "maximize its first move status of being the first and only cordless phone operating entirely at 2.4 GHz," according to the RFP. It asks agencies how they can leverage that advantage "against the brand identification and power of, say, Panasonic."

Also in the detailed RFP, Siemens explains what kind of agency behavior turns the company off, namely, those that incorporate too many people in the presentation process and those that bring in big creative guns for the pitch, then assign the work to junior staffers. Siemens also is not enamored with "creative directors who shore up weak portfolios with previous work and/or fall in love with their own concepts."

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